Feast or Famine. West Virginia battered U of L on the boards and tallied a 17-2 run to grab the game by the short and curlies. Bobby Huggs’ Mountaineers led by 11 at the half. It didn’t seem that close. They were +9 on the boards (11-5, the disparity on the offensive ends).
The visitors’ Kevin Jones scored their second field goal of the 2d half at 15:10 to resecure that 11 point advantage, 42-31.
Dalton Pepper scored W Va’s next FG, a trey, with 1:29 left, to cut Louisville’s lead to 54-53.
In other words, the Cards D, aided by a seriously depleted and undermanned Mountaineer squad, held West Virginia without a FG for 13:41, yet still needed . . .
. . . A Prayer to Win. And that’s the appropriate if overused reference to Peyton Siva’s winning shot, because: 1) It was a classic Siva drive into tall timber traffic move, that he flipped from his jock strap, falling away, which banked high off the board and lucked in, and 2) Siva invokes God into every other sentence, and himself credited the Big Guy for the made shot. (Wonder who would have been responsible, had the shot not gone down? You know, just askin’? Satan, maybe.)
What Else is there To Say? Frankly, I dunno. This was another dumbfounding to underwhelming effort by U of L. West Virginia, like Marquette before them, did their best to hand the game over to the Cards. Who grabbed it by the hair on Siva’s chinny chin chin. (To use a double metaphor that makes no sense.)
In the bathroom at halftime, one guy asked the lined up fans, “Can anybody here rebound?” Several offered they could do so better than U of L.
The Cards struggled mightily — at home — to beat a team with 8 players on scholly, only two of which averaged double figures.
The Cards won despite such lackluster moments as the one with a 4 point lead with 1:48 to play. Coming out of a timeout called to set up a play, the Cards drew a 5 second call.
Gorgui Dieng looked seriously dazed as he walked off after landing head first on a rebound foul.
At the end of the first half, The Rick eschewed his normal m.o.. Instead of a point guard tom tomming the ball and putting up a bad shot with a second or two to go, U of L ran a play. The culmination of which was Preston Knowles throwing up a bad trey too early, allowing West Virginia a chance to score .
The Missing Marra Marksmanship. For the first time tonight, I noticed that Marra twists his shooting hand at the end of his stroke, rather than following through straight.
Mr. Indispensable. Chris Smith has to be on the court as much as possible. 15 points. 6 boards. 2 assists. 2 steals. Typical.
Question du Jour, Category: Basketball: Is it my imagination, or does George Goode always score within seconds of entering the game?
Question du Jour, Category: The Scene: For the life of me, I can’t figure out what purpose the cheerleaders serve? Not only do they not lead any cheers, they don’t do anything else.
Dilution Solution. For awhile now, I’ve believed that the Cards are headed to the NIT this coming post season. When discussing their dance prospects with some scribes before the game, I was convinced otherwise. I’d forgotten those four extra teams that will be invited this year to join the play-in circus in Dayton in advance of the sub-regionals.
Unless the team suffers a total meltdown — not beyond the realm of possibility — they’ll probably be at least one of the last four in.
The Ladybirds . . . may represent a totally useless discipline, but they’re seriously HOT.
Extra Bonus Coverage of Tonight’s Big Game. As I finish this, I’ve got San Diego State vs. BYU on the tube. It’s tied at 44 as I write. Two observations:
1) Jimmer Fredette is for real.
2) San Diego State, win or lose, is for real.
– Seedy K